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PCSO rolls out digital transformation

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star
PCSO rolls out digital transformation
A woman places a bet at a lotto outlet in Taguig on November 17, 2023.

Yearender

MANILA, Philippines — This year was a period of digital transformation for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as it successfully rolled out the Philippine Lottery System (PLS), which upgraded the country’s almost 30-year-old lottery systems and technology.

The PCSO was also able to squeak out the one-year test run of their web-based lotto betting system or the “e-lotto” platform on Dec. 15, finally pushing lotto games into the Internet age.

The launch of the e-lotto web-based platform allows players and bettors to place bets and buy lotto e-tickets through their computers or laptops and pay through GCash e-wallets.

Melquiades Robles, PCSO general manager and vice chairman of the board, said they were excited about the game-changing potential of the e-lotto betting platform to boost the agency’s revenues, especially in 2024.

Robles said the online platform’s accessibility will attract more players in the country as well as millions of Filipinos working overseas who can play lotto games from wherever they are.

One of the key advantages of e-lotto is its ability to curb the proliferation of illicit online number games and ensure that revenue is remitted to government coffers and a part goes to the PCSO charity fund programs.

The e-lotto application may be downloaded on both Google Play and iOS platforms in 2024.

Payment methods were initially through GCash but negotiations are underway to introduce additional third-party gateway payments such as banks and other e-wallets.

The registration process has multiple layers of identity verification, making it significantly challenging for minors to bypass the system.

The system can also suspend and perpetually block an account if any misrepresentation is found on the player’s part.

Hitting double

Robles said that the successful rollout of the PLS on Oct. 1 had improved efficiency and sped up the lotto ticket-selling process at outlets nationwide.

“After more than 25 years of the lotto games, we have finally upgraded our lotto systems with the PLS,” Robles told The STAR.

“We have fewer terminals but bigger sales. We’re hitting almost double our sales,” he added.

Before the PLS rollout, the PCSO used two separate lottery systems nationwide for its lotto outlet ticket-selling operations: the Philippine Gaming and Management Corp. (PGMC) system for Luzon and the Pacific Online Systems Corp. (POSC) system for Visayas and Mindanao.

Under the PLS, the PCSO now has a single and centralized lotto system run by one operator – the same two lotto systems providers but combined in a joint venture – the PGMC-POSC-International Lottery & Totalizator Systems, Inc. (ILTS).

The POSC is also the partner of the PCSO in the conduct of the e-lotto test run.

The new PLS lottery system has been certified as compliant with the World Lottery Association security control standards, including ISO 27001 standards.

Under the PLS contract signed by the PCSO with the PGMC-POSC-ILTS joint venture, there would be 6,500 fixed and customized lottery terminals nationwide for the lotto games for five years.

Sales surging

Robles said that the PLS rollout and the top-up of the jackpot of all its lotto games, namely the Regular Lotto 6/42, Mega Lotto 6/45, Super Lotto 6/49, Grand Lotto 6/55 and Ultra Lotto 6/58 last Oct. 30 to P89 million in celebration of the PCSO’s 89th founding anniversary, which resulted in a surge in daily lotto sales.

This was ramped up when the PCSO held its “Handog Pakabog” Christmas lotto promotion campaign, which was also announced last Dec. 15 when the agency launched its e-lotto test run.

“We have seen the success of our ‘Handog Pakabog’ that resulted in the PCSO posting a record high lotto sales for a single day of P171 million,” Robles told The STAR in a phone interview.

“The P171 million (lotto sales in a single day) is an all-time high since the PLS (launch). We hope to surpass that in the days to come,” he added.

At the launch of the “Handog Pakabog” project, the PCSO increased the minimum guaranteed jackpot of its Ultra Lotto 6/58 and its Grand Lotto 6/55 to P500 million each.

The PCSO announced the expansion of its “Handog Pakabog” lotto promotion campaign, also setting the minimum jackpot of the Super Lotto 6/49 to P500 million, and the Regular Lotto 6/42 and Mega Lotto 6/45 to P100 million each.

Robles said that the record highest figure of P171 million was posted last Dec. 19, just four days after the “Handog Pakabog” Christmas lotto promo.

“And our success in hiking our lotto revenues means we can help more of our countrymen in need in their times of crisis,” Robles said.

The PCSO’s charter mandates a 70:30 ratio of allocation for the prize and operations fund and for the PCSO charity fund, wherein 70 percent goes to the prize and operational fund, and 30 percent goes to the charity fund.

As of November, the PCSO said it has generated lotto revenues of P55 billion for 2023.

At a projected P60 billion in lotto revenues for the whole of 2023, the charity fund was allocated P18 billion.

With the launch of e-lotto betting, Robles said the PCSO has set a conservative revenue target of P70 billion for 2024, or a P10 billion increase based on the sales boost to be provided by the e-lotto betting system.

At the P70 billion revenue target for 2024, the PCSO stands to get P21 billion in its charity fund, which is P3 billion higher than what the PCSO had in 2023.

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